Friday, September 23, 2011

URSU President backs Pride Centre

By Kent E. Peterson
URSU President
The Carillon
September 23, 2011

A process that would give students the opportunity to vote on an important question has begun at the University of Regina. Volunteers from across campus, including representatives from the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity and URSU's LGBTI director, have been busy petitioning for signatures so a referendum can be called. A referendum gives students a chance to directly make a decision. In this case, the referendum question would ask students if they support the creation of a small fee of fifty cents (part-time students) and one dollar (full-time students) that would then go to help fund the on-campus, non-profit student centre called UR Pride.

UR Pride believes the health of a community is important. The centre also believes everyone should have access to a safe and supportive environment and that all people should be free from marginalization and prejudice based on their gender and sexual identities. UR Pride offers resources, research, education, and services to anyone seeking them. The centre has done substantial research and work surrounding a positive space network, and next year is to host a national conference relating to queer services and issues. It is a centre we can all be proud of, regardless of our individual sexual orientation and identity. I would urge each and every student to contact UR Pride (, or URSU’s LGBTI director, and sign the referendum petition so the required number of signatures can be reached and a referendum called. It is my hope the referendum will be held shortly after all the petitions are submitted. Keep in mind, signing the petition is no indication of your support or opposition to the referendum question – it simply allows a referendum to be held.

LGBTQ youth are far more likely than non-LGBTQ youth to commit suicide, drop out of school, and be the victims of discrimination and violence based on sexual and gender identity. Education and creating a safe environment are important for everyone, meaning we all benefit from the work of UR Pride.

I am delighted this petition and referendum process has begun. We need to collectively think about how important safety, inclusion, and acceptance are to us, and then we need to seriously think about the current model from which UR Pride receives funding and decide whether it is fair, stable, and most efficiently enables us to reach our goals as a university, and as a society.

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